Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hunger & Thirst

Last night as I was heading to bed, I grabbed the bottle of water that was sitting next to my bed and took a good long swig. I was super thirsty.

As I drank in the cool wet goodness, it occurred to me, I had just a moment before thrown out the cup from the Big Gulp, correction Super Big Gulp Mountain Dew I had been nursing all night long.

What struck me was the way that one good swallow of pure water did far more to quench my thirst than an entire 44 ounces of the sugar filled, sodium laden, caffeine charged Mountain Dew had. And immediately the Father took it a little deeper with me.

He made me look face to face at the struggles I've been having over the last few weeks with my weight. I've gained ten horrible pounds, and my heart has been weighed down with every ounce of them.

It's been a heavy weight on my heart (no pun intended) not only because of the gigantic steps in the wrong direction on my desire to be healthy and strong, but also because it comes so quickly after such a huge victory when I was able to fast for 4 whole days during the week of prayer and fasting at my church.

Now mind you, that fasting was not at all about a diet, or losing weight, but it absolutely was about the ability to overcome the flesh and rely on the spirit by abiding in the Holy Spirit. When I fasted that week, I know that I know that I know I was only able to do it because God helped me and equipped me. And now for the life of me, I have not been able to stop stuffing my face, all the while, knowing the consequences, knowing the harm, knowing even my own disappointment in myself. Still I feed a hunger that isn't even really there.

Or is it?

That's what occurred to me as I took that drink of cool water. My body thirsted, and instead of giving it what would satisfy, I gave it something false, something that isn't even meant to quench my thirst at all. Despite Coca Cola's claim to being the "Real Thing," I would be willing to bet that although sodas and the like may momentarily satisfy thirst, it's the sodium and other ingredients in it that make us long for more. And we keep drinking in and never find ourselves fully satisfied.

As I set the bottle of water back down and walked into my bathroom, I stood in front of my full length mirror, and I could see the ten pounds. It's not enough to be noticed by everyone, but I see it, and I feel it when I try to pull on my pants. I feel the sense of tightness inside of me as I continue to eat even when I'm not really hungry.

The Lord quickened my heart in that moment, that my hunger I've been feeding has indeed been real, the only problem is, I have been feeding a spiritual hunger with a physical answer. The food I have stuffed into the point of discomfort has been to satisfy something that food is incapable of satisfying.

How often do we do that in our lives?

Have you ever had a really big meal, the kind that you can just barely push yourself away from the table after? Maybe on Thanksgiving or at some other celebration? In that moment you think you may never be hungry again. I don't know why I'm always surprised to wake up the next morning to a growling stomach. I think what happens is that we have stretched our stomach's capacity and the stretched out space is empty and hunger comes. If we keep feeding it, we keep gaining weight and we set down an unhealthy path.

I think that week I spent really seeking God and abiding in Him, I stretched out my spiritual stomach. I increased my capacity for wanting more of Him. But unlike feeding a stretched out physical stomach and risking weight gain and such, increasing your hunger for God is a good thing.

It is good to hunger and thirst for the Lord.

My problem is this, instead of reaching for the bread of life, and living water to satisfy those cravings, I have been settling for cupcakes and Mountain Dew. And because of it, my physical stomach satiates sickly, and my spiritual hunger remains unsatisfied, and every time I make the wrong choice, I weaken my starving spirit, and I push myself into a place of discouragement and dissatisfaction that then keeps me from reaching out for what I truly need.

Maybe it isn't food for you and the parallel is harder to see. But are you stuffing your spiritual hunger and thirst for God with other things? Whatever it may be, substances, relationships, activities - it's all just Mountain Dew and ding dongs for your spiritual hunger. It won't satisfy, and it may do damage that you have to work hard to undo.

So stop, ponder your yearning inside. We all have the spiritual hunger and thirst inside, I know because God placed it there, because He yearns for us too. He wants our all, our whole hearts, minds souls and strengths - these are His desires, His longings, for our good and His glory. But we must seek Him to find the true satisfaction, and then we must eat and drink deeply, for the Lord will satisfy.

..."but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 4:14

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!Psalm 34:8

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
John 6:35